AP reports: “U.S. bombers and jet fighters unleashed 40,000 pounds of explosives on the southern outskirts of Baghdad within 10 minutes Thursday in one of the biggest airstrikes of the war, flattening what the military called safe havens for al-Qaida in Iraq.”
Al Jazeera reports that “a local Sunni tribal leader told Al Jazeera that many civilians were feared dead and 300 families had fled after the offensive began earlier in the week.”
An independent American journalist who has covered Iraq extensively and now works with Iraqi journalists, Jamail is author of the new book Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq. He said today: “The recent bombing campaign conducted by the U.S. military highlights the fact that despite Bush administration claims of ‘progress’ in Iraq, the situation on the ground remains largely out of occupation forces’ control. With nine U.S. soldiers killed in two days, B-1 bombers and F-16 fighter jets dropping 20 tons of bombs in 10 minutes, and the U.S. military once again claiming ‘We certainly have our opponents on the ropes,’ we are once again repeating a scenario we’ve witnessed countless times in Iraq.”
Kokesh was a sergeant in a Marine Corps Civil Affairs Team in Iraq. Now co-chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Kokesh said today: “This underscores how inappropriate traditional military tactics are in what should be a police action, and how an increase in bombing goes against what we are told the ‘surge’ is supposed to accomplish, namely creating space for political reconciliation.
“We’re hearing from our active duty members that there’s an increase in ‘search and avoid’ missions — it’s a parody of ‘search and destroy.’ Instead of engaging the enemy, you call in fake situation reports. And rather than patrolling and attacking, you just sit under a bridge and use kids as a go-between to send messages to the local resistance that we won’t mess with you and you don’t mess with us. And that’s fine with the resistance. They respect the U.S. troops that don’t want to mess with the Iraqi people, who just want to come back home in one piece.
“But another thing some troops do is if they’re approaching a town and they get a pot shot, instead of going after whoever did that, they call in a false report of heavy incoming fire so an airstrike is called. That might keep down U.S. casualties in the short term, but it increases the number of killed Iraqi civilians –and fuels resentment which will come back to bite you.”
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167